Ramblers Walking Holidays began life in March 1946 originally as the commercial wing of the Ramblers' Association (now just ‘The Ramblers’), to sell books, establish some guest houses for walkers – and to organise walking tours mainly on the continent but also in the UK.
From a cramped room in Buckingham Street in London shared with the formidable ladies of the Married Women’s Association fighting for the rights of housewives and mothers, the founding figure of Ernest Welsman, aided by his shorthand typist assistant and ‘field man’, the ‘Overseas Assistant Organiser’ (known only as Vincent!) began planning the first holidays in these early days of package travel abroad.
By 1948, the company had a whole room to itself and had launched its first winter sports programme. A year after, 600 clients were travelling on 40 different itineraries, and after five years, Ramblers' Association Services (RAS), the company’s original name, was carrying 3,000 clients a year.